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Torres del Paine

Why visit Torres del Paine?

This really is a ‘bucket-list’ destination. It’s remote and rugged and glorious. Just standing still, breathing in the cleanest of air and letting your senses absorb every aspect of the beauty around you is an unforgettable experience.  
You can explore this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve by boat, car or on foot – it’s a hiker’s paradise. You’ll want to have at least one early morning so you can appreciate and photograph the glorious sight of the Paine Massif bathed in red and purple light. Amidst the rocks and scrubland, the colours that are there appear even more vivid from almost unnaturally blue icebergs and turquoise and green lakes to the smaller but equally intense reds, pinks, blues, oranges, purples and yellows of the wild flowers, plants, herbs and shrubs that bloom on the plateaus and lakesides.  
Taking a boat trip or kayaking amongst the icebergs is a must – you’ll feel dwarfed by their scale and beauty – as is hiking along some of the very well-marked paths and trails, such as the popular W circuit. Ride a horse through the pampas with gauchos as your companions and guides, or even take a horseback ride along lake shores and past the glaciers.
Reasons to visit Torres del Paine include:

  • The iconic Three Towers – almost 3000m high, these immense granite monoliths are a hugely impressive sight. 
  • See the wonderfully blue water of Lake Nordenskjold, and continue on to the Salto Grande, the largest waterfall on the Paine river. It’s only about 50’ tall, but massive amounts of water thunder through it into Lake Pehoe. 
  • Lake Pehoe and its turquoise waters – you get stunning views of the Park from the catamaran ride to the park gate.  
  • Take a boat trip on Lago Grey to see the eponymous glacier, passing stunning icebergs. 
  • Cross the suspension bridge in over the river into French Valley, see the hanging French Glacier and, if you’re lucky, watch ice calving. 
  • Enjoy a wildlife ‘safari’ on the pampas and through the lenga forests, spotting guanacos, rare huemul (Andean deer), red foxes, grey foxes and maybe even an elusive puma or two. 
  • Birdwatching – majestic condors and eagles live here, as do dozens of other species, including black necked swans, flamingos, anteater ducks, and vividly coloured sierra-finches and kingfishers. 
  • Explore the rarely visited Pingo Valley – home to the shy huemul, the Pingo and Zapata Glaciers and the Cascada los Salmones waterfall.

When to go to Torres del Paine

It is a year-round destination but best from October to April when it's less rainy and there are 16-17 hours of daylight. The upside of travelling out of this period, however, is that it is much less visited.

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Torres del Paine accommodation

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facts and information

Time: GMT -4 hours

Flight time:

There are direct flights from London Heathrow to Santiago, which operate 4 times a week and take 14 hours 40 minutes. The Chilean airline, LATAM, flies via Madrid.

Language: The official language is Spanish. but other local languages are also spoken. English is spoken quite widely.

Visas:

Visas are not currently required for British passport holders staying for up to 90 days, who are issued with a ‘Tarjeta de Turismo-Tourist Card’ on arrival. You must retain this and present it to immigration on departure.

Health:

Generally none is compulsory but we recommend the following: hepatitis A and B, typhoid, diphtheria, meningitis, tetanus, rabies and polio. There is no malaria in Chile. A yellow fever certificate is required if you are coming from an infected area.

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